My name is Darren Lim. At the age of 14, I dropped out of school and joined the secret society. I mixed around with bad company and started smoking and drinking. Subsequently, I experimented with sleeping pills and cannabis. Out of curiosity and encouraged by my peers, I even tried heroin. I was so contented with my carefree life and felt that only drugs could give me a sense of freedom and satisfaction. When I was enlisted into National service, I continued my wayward ways. Despite the strict regimentation in camp, my addiction grew stronger. After my two years’ service, I was completely hooked on heroin and was not even interested in looking for a job. Instead, I was spending my time desperately trying to satisfy my yearning for drugs. In order to satisfy my drug crave, I put aside my self-esteem and stole money and jewelry from my mother. I did a lot of unthinkable things…
In 1995, the law caught up with me. Intoxicated on sleeping pills and heroin, I attempted to shoplift but was caught. After my urine was tested positive, I was charged with theft and drug abuse. I was sentenced to six month imprisonment. But the punishment could not save me from drug craving. My parent’s tears, love and care could not save me either. On contrary, I became more rebellious. Immediately after my release, I consumed drugs again. In 1996, I was caught and sent to the drug rehabilitation center (DRC). The one year in the DRC was horrid. I suffered terribly from the withdrawal symptoms and had to battle with my inner self. After I was released, I was placed on a two-year urine supervision regime. However, I lacked will-power and allowed my drug addiction to get the better of me. After numerous attempts to avoid the urine tests, I got caught again and this time for drug consumption and possession. I was sentenced to 14 months of imprisonment. One day, while serving my sentence, my sister visited me and informed me that my mother was diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing radiotherapy. At that moment, my heart sank.
Finally, I was released. I felt tired. I was frustrated and deeply distressed about my frequent stays in the prisons and DRC. Deep down in me, I wanted to repent. I dreaded the despaired look on my mother’s and my family members’ faces. I truly wanted to abandon this decadent lifestyle. But I always failed. After merely three months of staying clear of drugs, I got restless and succumbed to temptation again.
One night in 1998, after I arranged to meet one of the drug dealers at a void-deck, I was apprehended in an ambush by the CNB officers. I was not aware that the government had passed a stricter law on drug abuse by then. As a result, I was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment and 3 strokes of cane, instead of the 18-month imprisonment and cold turkey treatment. Devastated and shocked, I became very disgruntled. I felt that injustice had been done. During my first two years in prison, I was recalcitrant. In fact, I was active in gang activities despite being in prison. As time passed, I got fed up with this way of life and resolved to start afresh. I was fascinated by how my friends who had undergone Christian counselling emerged as better and happier persons.
With encouragement from the Christian brothers, I took the bold step forward to attend the chapel service. I was enlightened! I mean…such a wretch like me can be saved! I felt peace and joy in my heart despite my circumstances. I thank God for the counselors who have been my guiding lights. Through their encouraging words, love and care, I was able to stand up again and could look forward to my future. Through them, I experienced the power and truth of Christ’s resurrection. With new hope came new opportunities. In my last few years in prison, I was selected to enroll in the prison’s school and completed my secondary 3 education. During my final six months of the sentence, I was given an opportunity to go to a half-way house. God is really gracious! He led me to the Renewal Self-Development Center.
I am grateful for the love and support that the center provided. I felt a sense of satisfaction whenever I was able to help fellow ex-offenders by sharing my experience with them. After completion of the program, I continued to serve God in Renewal center as a member of the staff. My path ahead was filled with love, hope and vision. On the road from Want to Abundance, the Lord not only blessed me with material things but also spiritual growth so that I could enjoy the peace and love in Him. After serving in Renewal center for a year, God had other plans for me. An Elder from the Glad Tidings Church, where I am currently attending, offered to train me as a locksmith in his business. Today he is my father in-law.
Seeing that my life had changed, my mother’s heart was filled with comfort and joy. Whenever my church members visited her, she would always be there to witness my transformed life. Praise the Lord! In 2005, she accepted Lord Jesus as her personal savior and was baptized. She succumbed to her illness and went home to the Lord in April 2005. I still miss her a lot, for she is my beloved mother forever. I could not repay her anything, but I am glad that she found the real peace in Jesus.
I would say again and again that it is through God’s grace that I got to know Mary in church. She is the daughter of the Elder whom I am working for. I am very thankful that her family is willing to accept me when I was dating their daughter who is 10 years younger than me. Thanks be to God, on 18th August 2007, Mary and I tied our nuptial knot at the Glad Tidings Church.
If not for God’s love and grace, who would want to marry their daughter to an ex-drug addict? Now I have a virtuous wife and a home of my own. In terms of material needs, God has blessed me abundantly. I am now running the locksmith business on my own. Spiritually, God has used me in His church’s ministry, and also in prison’s ministry. Through the support and trust by SANA CCS, I have been able to share the Gospel to the inmates in Changi Prison Complex (CPC) fortnightly. May I continue to be used by God in His ministry to help and spread His love to those in need. Glory be to God! He has always been leading and guiding me since the day I accepted Christ as my Savior. No words can describe my joy in serving Him. I pray that the Lord will continue to guide me and lead me to witness and glorify His holy name. May all glory and praise be unto our Father in Heaven, Amen!
Editor’s Note: Darren is presently the Vice-President of CCS and devotes much of his free time to counsel and help ex-drug addicts and ex-prisoners.